I want to stop my madness.
For God’s sake, I have such a tremendous conscience that reminds me daily of why I even make so many favors, why I help my friend make a TF2 trading bot that he’s going to sell for money, why I moderate a community about roleplaying on a tiny little window with characters resembling those from a video game you play on a console that has a tiny screen you carry around in your pocket, why I want to make an arcade combat flight simulator, why I even want to program in the first place.
I want to stop, and here’s why:
ManicTime tells me that I spent twelve good, solid hours on the computer on Saturday, July 29, 2017. Two thousand and seventeen, yes, the year I ate my heart out for not doing my college applications well; yes, the year I learned some good, decent calculus; the year I visited Japan, yes, a foreign country, for the first time in my life (which I still have flashbacks of). And at the end of the day, I hunch back down on the three-monitor workstation to get some “work” done.
And my mother is absolutely intolerant of this now. I knew she was going to launch an attack one day: today was the day she did it. My brother was likewise on the computer as well – and this is why I often strive to not do the exact same thing as my brother – so my mother puts one and one together and scolds us both harshly. She told us about how we are helping no one, how we are destroying ourselves, how spending too long on the blasted computer will make us lose purpose of our life and connection with our families and everything that matters, and what will happen when there is no more computer. She said this was a “meditation,” but it was obviously a confrontation spearheaded by a rhetorical question. It is too painful to narrate the subsequent events. As the man I was called to be, my hormones make me tough, but for some reason tears sought a way out as I left the house.
I never wanted to be on the computer forever. But neither of my parents understand. My father is no engineering professor, unlike one of my friends. Who could possibly teach me about invention and mechanics? Yet my father bickers and scoffs on the phone about how you can learn engineering and invention from books. I don’t want books. You can’t get cuts and scratches with books. You can’t feel the materials you are working with and get a grip of the tools you must use and learn their correct applications. I always wanted to invent as a secondary hobby, something I can fall back to and complement with programming. If I had hooked onto the ability of invention when I was eleven or twelve, when it appealed to me so much, rest assured my life would be better today, and I would not have had any problems at all entering the highest institutions of the United States. It sounds egotistical, but I seek to assert, if hyperbolically, that invention was a passion never pursued, because there was no one to teach me. The topic comes so close to me that I weep again. The call drops, I take this moment to blow my nose out at the ground, and then I resume the call.
Yet here my father is telling me unhelpful advice about understanding things by “looking at them.” I can look at a car and not know anything about how it works. The car is the final product. But I seek to know how it reached that result, the process behind that result. Later, my father tells me to take things apart. Well, I’m not going to take apart my car, am I? But he still fails to understand, because his mentality is completely that of a consumer. He doesn’t give a crap about making things. He has his iPhone and his iPad and he’s happy.
On the other hand, I am easily able to penetrate sense into my mother, and obtain rational, functional results beside simply “pray and let things happen.” She understands, but she genuinely cannot and does not know how to help.
Then, there is the Japan account. I would love to write nostalgia about it, but I feel obligated to finish the main narrative before I get to the more introspective portion of it, the postface. But it is so sad, because the memories fade the moment I recall them. I have enough pictures to fill in most blanks, but when there are no pictures, it takes mental effort to scrape up events that occurred within the lapses of memory. I am so close to finishing, but the flashbacks of things like Sensei running back to help Ya.-san and Ma.-chan who had tripped on each other on the asphalt pulls me back instead of pushing me forward on the narrative.
This week, I have one resume, two coding assignments, one written summary, and a two-day-long hackathon to do. I’d love if the CodeU people had not decided to throw so many things at us on the same week, but c’est la vie.
I wonder what the best way to get into something new would be. When I go to college, I do not want to be a recluse on the computer when I do not have anything to do. That is not the life I wish to live anymore. I lived it back then because I had little choice: the homework load was unpredictable, my dad would pick me up hours late, and I was already very introverted. If I had a choice, I’d choose cycling, but a good bicycle is very unaffordable right now, and I am unsure of my investment.
I don’t know. In three or maybe four weeks, the life I had for nine years will be over.